The artwork and title of this DVD made me think it would be cheesy, or clumsily shot, or that *something* would be wrong with it, but, as the song says "C'est la vie, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.". I just finished seeing it, and it was absolutely wonderful. The caliber of artistry in this live performance makes this DVD a keeper.
In the last 20 years, I've not kept up much with ballet "buzz," but I had seen the charming Polina Semionova in a Youtube video clip, and she was the reason I bought this DVD. And as I expected, Polina was wonderful, dancing an excerpt from her favorite ballet, "Manon," and that would have been enough. But to my delight, I discovered other wonderful dancers here - in particular, Oksana Kutcheruk as a luminous Aurora in the Grand Pas de Deux from "The Sleeping Beauty," and the lovely Bolshoi dancer Maria Alexandrova in "The Pharoah's Daugther" pas. Not the least of the surprises was the solo performance by 16-year-old Daniil Simkin, a fresh-faced young man with a big talent and a bigger personality. He was skilled, and funny, and a pleasure to watch. He owned the audience from the jump. And Natalia Hoffman of the Dutch National Ballet was a wonder in more modern piece set to the music of Kurt Weill. Finally there was the "The Man I Love" piece from the NYCB favorite "Who Cares?", set to the music of George Gershwin. I believe the the same Bolshoi Dancers who were so good in "Pharoah's Daughter" were even better in this piece. Alexandrova has a beautiful, "Balanchine-dancer" body, and her technique is simply staggering. She would not look out of place dancing this on the NYCB stage.
I was not wild about "The Moor's Pavane," which used to be part of the Joffrey's repertoire when there still WAS a Joffrey and it still had a New York season. I like Purcell's music, but I find the ballet overly long and dull, which is odd because "Othello" is anything BUT dull. But Charles Jude, whose name I had heard but had never seen dance, was an awesome Othello (I think Gary Chryst was the last person I'd seen dance that role, and that was the 1970s!). And it was the Vietnam-born Jude who reworked the "Sleeping Beauty" pas de deux I mentioned earlier.
I really do recommend this. In fact, it's a steal here. Get it!